“There are stories to be told.” And there were a plenty. W.Gary Smith introduced MetroHorts‘ First Member Showcase, Thursday night at the Arsenal. The work of five members (Michael Franco, Hanna Packer, Mickael Pelow, Liz Pulow, Robin Key) were chosen by Smith, Patrick Cullina and Dagni Senzel. Projects were specifically selected for the constraints and challenges of the project site. Smith, an excellent conversationist, imbued the dialog with an informal, convivial and down-to-earth tone.
Robin Key presented her landscape design for a 25 ft. wide by 60 ft. deep townhouse backyard in Brooklyn Heights. Key described the site, as an overgrown mess, with discarded bluestones stacked up in the rear of the yard. These rough blue stones were used for the “ground plane” of the design. There was only one problem: there wasn’t enough stone for the entire backyard. Key solved this problem with a brilliant move.
A floating wood deck continues the space to its back borders. Key bridged the gap from bluestone to deck with a pathway of moss. It’s a beautiful transition.
Michael Franco (contractor: Town and Gardens) presented his design for an empty space ( 14,000 sq. ft parking garage roof) that sits between two condominiums. W.Gary Smith likes a good narrative; so do I. He asked Franco, “how he came up with the design.”
Franco had no trouble answering. ” We thought about landscapes that don’t have any physical features, like the middle of the ocean. This started us thinking about navigation charts. The patterns seafaring routes make. It was the key to the design. It’s framework. “
This first showcase was not about horticulture. It was about design. Solutions to landscape problems filled with complexities. Building on the success of this first go-around, members were encouraged to submit ideas for the next showcase. The last couple of years, I have felt MetroHort lost its footing. This is a good first step to offering new opportunities for members.